The Springfield College women’s soccer team is starting to turn up the heat at the right time. Riding a three-game winning streak, the Pride went into Tuesday night’s match-up looking to keep the momentum going against the Hawks of Roger Williams.
Roger Williams, ranked No. 10 in New England, also appeared to be a team that was hitting the runway with speed, ready to take off into the postseason. The Hawks have picked up three victories in the past eight days, vaulting them into second place in The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC).
Tuesday night at Brock Affleck Field was a night filled with emotion, for the seniors of the women’s soccer team would be playing their last regular season game ever on the campus of Springfield College. The night ended the way the Pride imagined it, beating Roger Williams 5-1 in front of their family and friends in dominating fashion.
“It’s a great group, wonderful group of athletes and hard workers,” said Coach John Gibson on the Springfield Athletics website about his senior class. “I was pleased to have them all on the field to start the game; it was a special moment that I enjoyed very much.”
One of the seniors in the game seemed to shine above the rest. Goalkeeper Erin Greenstein played well in net all night, making seven saves and picking up the victory in her last regular season game under the lights of Brock Affleck Field.
“It was a little unreal, but I am pretty hopeful that [it] won’t be our last home game, and we’ll be hosting NEWMACs,” said Greenstein.
The Pride started the night off strong. In the 21st minute of the game, junior striker Nina Vital headed home a corner kick provided by Ashley Carresi to give her team a 1-0 advantage.
Just eight minutes and 37 seconds later, freshman outside midfielder Jessica Miller gave the Pride some breathing room by burning down the right side of the field and gently placing the ball into the top left corner of the net over the outstretched hands of Hawks goalkeeper Stephanie Jaques.
One minute and eight seconds into the second half, Vital scored her second goal of the match. A ball that was being passed around inside the Hawks box was picked off by the crafty striker and tucked into the right side of the net. The tally gave Vital her team-leading ninth goal of the season.
Vital has been on a tear lately, scoring five goals in her past two games, including a hat trick against Mount Holyoke this past Saturday. A leg injury earlier in the season inhibited the local product from Ludlow, Mass. on the field, resulting in limited playing time. Now that she is healthy and playing full games for Springfield, she is happier than ever.
“It’s awesome,” Vital said with wide eyes. “It’s nice to be playing and feeling well heading into one of our bigger games this weekend and eventually the postseason.”
Springfield left the rest of the scoring in the game to junior Karly Barrett. The forward from Sparta, N.J. scored goals in the 76th and 79th minutes to provide the Pride with some breathing room heading into the final minutes of the game.
The Pride only have one game left before the NEWMAC playoffs begin. This Saturday, the Springfield women will travel to Wellesley College to take on the Blue.
In a tie for first place in the conference with MIT, the Pride hold the advantage due to a head-to-head 1-0 victory two weeks ago in Cambridge. A win versus Wellesley would bring the Pride to a league record of 8-1, giving them a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
“We’ve done a really good job of supporting one another and making sure we are moving together on the field,” said Greenstein. “We’ve been working really well. We are very strong right now.”